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Handicapping Chief Explains Cup Log

Racing operator also have a say

The second log of standings for the R2 million Gr1 Gauteng Summer Cup has been published.

Louis The King – Summer Cup 2014 winner

A Sporting Post reader asked us to research how the log was ‘contrived’, and what factors were taken cognisance of when determining positions.

He also asked what influence the handicappers had.

In a response, NHRA Senior Handicapper Lennon Maharaj said that the Summer Cup Log is a requirement/condition of the race and acts as a guide for owners and trainers to plan their route into the race.

“It also guides punters and interested parties as to which horses are likely to make up the field.The Log is done at the Handicappers discretion with input from the Racing Operator,” he added.

Lennon Maharaj – explains the log mechanics

Lennon drew our attention to an extract from the race conditions which states that the Handicappers will publish a series of Logs from 27 Sep 2019 and that Phumelela Gaming & Leisure reserves the right to have an input and into the compilation of the Logs and in determining the final field.

He said that the following factors are considered by the Handicappers when compiling the Log:

  • Graded Race Form
  • Current Form
  • Merit Ratings – Lower rated progressive horses may be preferred to older exposed horses or horses deemed to be on the decline
  • Horses returning from a long lay-off or injury should ideally prove fitness
  • Distance Suitability

The log will be published on a weekly basis going forward, until declarations.

Second Entries close at 11:00 on Monday 4 November 2019.

Final Entries close at 11:00 on Monday 18 November 2019.

Declarations and final field on Tuesday 19 November 2019.

Draws announced on Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Hollywoodbets have an ante-post betting market on the Summer Cup – click here

Book your ticket for the big day – click here

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14 comments on “Handicapping Chief Explains Cup Log

  1. E. Paines says:

    Your reader used the best possible adjective to describe the make up of the log when he said it is contrived.

    Phumelela should have no say at all in the handicapping of a horse.

    For the Nha to say that the conditions of the race give Phumelela an entitlement to be involved in the handicapping process is disheartening.

    The Nha is the regulator. Not Phumelela.

    No disrespect intended, but do the people who manage the Nha actually understand that Phumelela cannot be involved in determining the handicapping of horses. It makes a mockery of our handicapping systems and the functions of the Nha.

  2. AvJv says:

    The people who should be handicapping horses are the handicappers. This country must be the only country where the regulators allow third persons to interfere in the handicapping. It’s not right. Why have a regulator when the operator can do the job and for all we know is already doing the handicapping. Our handicappers are relegated to worker bees and the queen bee smiles happily while being fed. It is not right.

  3. Brett Maselle says:

    The NHA needs to take a long and serious look at itself.

  4. Rian says:

    The PEN doesnt seem to be working, maybe its time to PROTEST

  5. Lebohang says:

    It’s a question not a comment,what happened to the grand heritage race meeting at the vial. .?

  6. Pops says:

    OK folks,who determines the Final field for the Vodacom Durban July?
    This is what Mr.Racing had to say, that throughout his career he had been involved in the selection of final fields for major races.
    And these are his qualification”
    Punter, owner, bilingual race-caller, racing journalist, television presenter, auctioneer, track expert, race programme planner, pedigree researcher, marketer, salesman, administrator
    Seems like he was never a handicapper.

    1. karel says:

      I can tell you one thing: he knows a lot more about handicapping than you imagine.

  7. Rian says:


  8. Jay August says:

    How is it that the commenters to this thread were extremely silent when the final field for the Durban July was announced?

    That races official website states – “The Vodacom Durban July log is compiled by a Gold Circle selection panel in consultation with the official handicappers. The log reflects, in order of preference, the horses the panel feel should make up the final field at the time of the log’s publication.”

    The conditions for that race state – “VODACOM DURBAN JULY LOGS: The Company in consultation with the Handicappers will publish a series of logs of the entries. The logs will reflect all the horses, in order of preference, as to the make up of the final field at the time of publication.”

    The conditions for the Summer Cup state “Handicappers will publish a series of Logs from 27 Sep 2019. Phumelela Gaming & Leisure reserves the right to have an input into the compilation of the Logs & in determining the Final Field.” The Racing Operator’ Conditions state;
    ……..7.1.6 Discretionary Power of the Company
    …………….Unless otherwise stated in the Race Requirements, the Company grants the
    ……………Handicapper the right to establish the field in any Feature Race or Juvenile
    ……………Plate. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Condition 7,
    ……………the Handicapper shall have an absolute discretion, after the closing of
    ……………declarations, to
    …… exempt any horse from the application to it of these Conditions
    ……………..governing eliminations.
    ….. eliminate any horse from a race.

    It seems that feigned angst and contrived logic are required attributes to comment on Sporting Post for those who feel the need to manufacture outrage.

  9. Jay August says:

    Brendan, you are discussing a theoretical situation which does not exist. When has the regulator in this industry in SA ever been independent?

    Assuming your hypothetical scenario of complete independence and absolute objectivity, I can see no reason why in a free market the operator would not have the power to include or exclude any party it so chooses.

  10. Jay August says:

    Brendon, apologies for misspelling your name in the earlier comment.

    Surely the operators already have the discretionary powers you find troublesome. They are able to frame race conditions which include or exclude certain classes of participant. Those conditions can be detailed enough to ensure a certain outcome or to guide the hand of an independent regulator towards a desired outcome.

    How should rule 7 be changed to “benefit the sport” and what discretionary power should be excluded from the operator?

  11. Jay August says:

    Brendon, you fall so easily into the habit you accuse me of, yet you have no knowledge of having done so.

    Perhaps you should refrain in future from making observations which include words like “clueless”, “dumb”, “dumber”, “circus” and “joke”.

    I’ll take your outrage at my statements far more seriously when you practice what you preach.

  12. Jay August says:

    Brendon, perhaps you should have stayed on point originally and the debate would be had by now.

    I have no acceptance of anything other than the facts. Currently those facts allow the operator some discretion. You have yet to advance any persuasive argument as to why the operator should not have discretion to decide which horses may run in races it chooses to stage.

    I have already laid bare my position which you conveniently discard as being on the side of the regulator, although my position is clearly on the side of the operator in this regard.

    In what way is the industry prejudiced because the operator seeks to have an influence in the composition of the final field in this specific race?

  13. karel says:

    Brendon & Jay,
    The thing is that in selecting the final field, there will be no argument from anyone about 90% of the horses to be included.
    The problems always are with the final 10%.
    No one is capable of making any sensible decisions about these – it’s all a matter of narrow opinion.
    It is in this respect that the operator reserves the right to make the final decision – which is not to say that the operator will overrule suggestions made by the handicapper.

    So where’s the problem?

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